Last February, John Riccitiello returned to Electronic Arts from Elevation Partners, the venture capital outfit he joined after leaving EA in 2004. Since his return, as chief executive, Riccitiello has split EA into four separate business units: EA Games, EA Sports, The Sims, and EA Casual.
He has also been a very vocal leader, holding forth on why the current game pricing model will soon be obsolete, why the next-gen console transition is over, and how the games industry is boring people to death...not to mention his pronouncements over the ongoing Take-Two takeover saga.
In today's Financial Times, Riccitiello now makes his opinion on Hollywood known. He thinks that power in entertainment is shifting away from the studios to games companies. "The buzz in Hollywood, which I heard from some Hollywood folks...is people are worried whether Iron Man the movie is going to get killed by Grand Theft Auto the game. I don't think I've ever heard of that before... There is more interest today from Hollywood to make movies out of our games than there is interest in our industry to make games out of their movies. There's a big reset happening now," he said.
Games are starting to be recognised as an art form as opposed to a toy for children, he believes. According to Riccitiello, "The greatest games will be viewed by almost everybody as being as important as Best Picture at the Academy Awards."
This year, he said he would nominate Grand Theft Auto IV as Best Picture equivalent--taking the chance to once again sing the praises of developer Rockstar, which last month he revealed was the main reason behind EA's proposed takeover of Take-Two.
However, he's quick to make clear that he doesn't think that EA needs Rockstar or Take-Two--perhaps unsurprisingly, he already thinks that the company is the best of the best. He said, "I read a book on how every medium creates one great company: animation created Disney, CBS was created by radio, NBC by television. Interactive entertainment is going to determine one great company and I think it's this one."